This year, I turned 30. It was actually a little while ago, but since I’m now officially 30-and-a-half (I’m a Spring baby), the time seemed right to acknowledge the change. Specifically – the changes I’ve noticed to my skin.
Now. This sort of thing doesn’t happen overnight – it’s not like the clock strikes 12 and you wrinkle like your fingers in a hot bath. But there are gradual changes that even the most in-denial (me) will have to acknowledge.
1. Loss of radiance
Have you ever noticed how much more easily you tan on holiday after an industrial stub at the spa? This is because you are simulating the natural skin function of cell turnover. When you’re a kid, your skin would shed and reveal new baby skin (stay with me – I’m not suggesting like a snake – it’s way more subtle and gradual than that) every 14 days or so. By the time you’re 30, the time it takes has doubled – new cells are visible only every 28-35 days. And as dead cells accumulated on the skin, light reflection is decorated = bye bye radiance.
S O L U T I O N = exfoliate, duh. But more efficiently. Look for enzymatic skin peels rather than mechanical scrubs, since these can be too harsh for regular use. Try pineapple enzyme, glycolic or mushroom peels, like these bad boys…..
2. Increased photo-sensitivity
Ok so this isn’t strictly a 30s thing, but kind of. According to the team at Beautopia, consistent use of the oestrogen pill (which, let’s be honest, is likely by the time 30 hits. Even if you’re a habitual forgetter like me) increases photosensitivity, which means you’re more likely to damage skin cells during sun exposure.
S O L U T I O N = obviously here I’m going to say wear a daily spf. But also obviously, I’m aware of the pitfalls (pore-clogging, shine increasing etc). Go for ones that are mattifying (Murad Invisiblur is amazing), or add a magnifying primer on top, like Caudalie Vinopure Skin Mattifying Fluid.
3. De-crease of collagen production
WAY decrease, actually. Quick science lesson: collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It gives skin its structure, elasticity and firmness, and makes up over 80% of the dermis. Trouble is, your body stops producing collagen around age 30. AND – worst luck – your levels decrease 1 to 2 percent every. single. year. Which leads to an increase of fine lines and wrinkles, plus an overall loss of firmness.
S O L U T I O N = this one is both topical and oral. Collagen is a large mollecule which makes penetration to the necessary skin layers tricky, which is why many people prefer to take collagen supplements, which can be broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream by the body. However, you can also stimulate collagen production by triggering the body’s natural wound healing process. This is where treatments like microdermabrasion fit in (best one of these I’ve ever had was with Claire Peters at JOSHI. Or DIY with a face roller). Another way to increase collagen production is by using a retinol at night 2-3 times a week. Retinol (vitamin A) reacts with sunlight, so the best way to use is individual capsules. I am obsessed with the Elizabeth Arden ones.
4. Build-up of free-radicals
Everything from pollution to the sun, to the body’s own natural functions causes the release of free-radicals, which is one of the key factors in premature ageing.
S O L U T I O N = a good anti-oxidant serum is an essential pre-day cream step. Look for high levels of ingredients like Vitamin E and Vitamin C. There are also new technologies that act like a barrier to air-born pollution, like Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly Anti Pollution. Which is good enough to excuse it’s unacceptably long name.. Don’t forget your lips, too – try Jo Malone Vitamin E or Patchology
5. Loss of hydration
with age comes a natural compromise of many of the skin’s functions, and the barrier function is sadly not exempt. Which means hydration is more readily lost, leading to dehydrated skin and therefore fine lines. Infact, many of the first signs of ageing are intact very reversible signs of dehydration.
S O L U T I O N = the beauty industry has been banging on about hyaluronic acid for years now, and for very good reason. A single gram of HA holds up to six litres of water, and regulates that moisture within the cells (so as not to drown them. Smart, no?). This ability to hold over 1,000 times its own weight in water is what contributes to that plumping effect of the skin. SO. Find a good Hyaluronic Acid-containing serum (I’m using Jane Iredale at the moment), then finish with a day cream to lock it all in.